How to Enable the New Full Dark Mode in Google Maps on Android

Google Maps dark mode on Android 10 photos
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We’ve known for a while that Google was working on a full dark mode for Google Maps, and the first signs of such a visual update have actually been spotted the last fall when a new toggle showed up all of a sudden for a bunch of users.
It was just an experiment, but it confirmed Google wanted Google Maps to get a full dark mode that would convert everything, not just the menus, to this new visual style.

Because truth be told, dark modes are the new cool thing in the tech world, and pretty much every respected app developer has released such an update. Windows 10 already has it, the iPhone currently features a dark mode too, and so do most popular apps out there.

And it’s all for a good reason: a dark mode makes an application easier to use during the night, and it goes without saying this is something super-important especially in the car.

Google Maps with a full dark mode makes a lot more sense in the car when driving during the night, and this is why this new update is so important for everybody.

Things you need to know

First and foremost, what you need to know is that the new Google Maps dark mode is only available on Android for the time being. Google hasn’t shared any specifics as to when it plans to expand the same visual update to iPhones, but we’re guessing it won’t take too long before this happens.

Then, the dark mode comes with three different settings: always light, always dark, and following the system mode.

While switching it to always dark is something that could make sense at first, you should actually stick with the setting that aligns the Google Maps visual style with the one of the operating system. And here’s a little trick.

If you do this, you can configure Android to automatically switch to the dark mode at a specific time (in the evening), so Google Maps can automatically enable the dark mode at the same time. In other words, the navigation app uses the light standard mode during the day, but it enables the dark visual style during the night, all without you touching anything.

Google Maps dark mode on Android
Photo: autoevolution

How to enable the dark mode on Android

Enabling the dark mode on Android doesn’t take more than just a few seconds.

First and foremost, you need to make sure you are running the latest version of Google Maps on your phone. If you do, launch the app and then look in the top right corner for your profile picture. Tap it and in the menu that shows up on the screen, go to Settings.

Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and you should now see a new Theme section. Tap this one and then Google Maps should let you choose between the three options mentioned above, namely always in light theme, always in dark theme, and same as device theme.

If you enable the second option, the dark mode should be activated immediately, so when you go back to the map, the interface should already be changed. Of course, you can also go back to the standard light mode by following the same steps.

Without a doubt, this new setting is quite a massive update that would definitely make Google Maps a lot easier to use in the car, especially during the night. On Android Auto, Google Maps already comes with a dark mode, and on most head units, it’s activated automatically when you turn on the headlights, so there’s no need to make any changes to this setting.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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